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How Much Does Tenant Screening Really Matter?

As a landlord who rents out your property to tenants, your first asset is the property itself, followed closely by your reputation as a landlord. To maintain the integrity of both of these assets, you need to screen your tenants before letting them rent the property.  Improper screening of potential tenants is one of the most common mistakes of new landlords, and the thorn in the side of those who have rented out for years. How much does it matter?  Vastly so, if you want to receive rent on time, keep your property in good condition, prevent shady activity, and get a good tenant who you can trust. Using a property management company is one way to do this.

 

You Want to Receive Rent Promptly

One of the key elements of a good background check is that of a credit report.  In the modern world, a person’s word is worth next to nothing.  By performing a credit check, you can get an accurate picture of the income and spending behaviors of your prospective tenant, as well as their reliability when it comes to making important payments.  Yes, believing in second chances is an admirable thing, but if the person filling out your application is onto his or her fourth or fifth chance, then you should turn them down and look for someone more trustworthy in financial matters.

 

You Want to Preserve the Integrity of Your Property

Another key part of a successful background check is that of referrals and references.  In your application form, you should have places to fill in contact information for previous landlords and people who can vouch for the good character of your prospective tenant. Checking this information will let you learn about how the tenant has behaved in previous rentals, and how much respect they had for the property.  This will help weed out those who would neglect to care for your property, or incur damages thereon.

 

You Want to Prevent Any Dangerous or Illegal Activity on Your Property

Most of the more successful screenings also include sex offender checks and criminal history background checks.  While the necessity of these checks is somewhat self-explanatory, it needs to be reiterated. Screening for criminals or sex offenders can keep them out of your property, and will significantly decrease the chances that an illegal or destructive event occurs on your property.  While second chances are a good thing, and well deserved in many cases, bad habits and ways of life can only invite trouble in the end.

 

You Want a Reasonable and Reliable Tenant

Many sources exist that can offer additional advice on how to conduct your screenings, but the sum total of what they come to is this: you want a good person to be living in your property, and comprehensive screening is the only way to make sure that happens.  Do not cut corners or rush into accepting a new tenant, regardless of how tempting the offer, or how desperate for a tenant you may be.  You will always be safer when you perform a good screening upon application.